(Survivor (Greater than 20 years))
Personal Bio (My story)
I'm an engineer by education, so sometimes I think it's easier to explain my cancer experience by the numbers:
I've had Hodgkin's disease once, Breast Cancer twice. I was a 20 year old college sophomore, fighting my way through cancer for the 1st time. To diagnose the Hodgkin's, I had every major organ in my abdominal region biopsied, a section of my hip removed, my spleen removed, and for good measure, I let the doctors take out my appendix too. To treat the Hodgkin’s, I had 18 weeks of radiation and 9 rounds of chemo therapy. My chemo regime had 4 drugs. I still have 21 little blue radiation tattoos used to mark the radiation field on my body. I lost all my hair and lost a ton of weight. It took close to 3 years to battle through the Hodgkin’s.
At the age of 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I had one lumpectomy and 5 intense days of Mammosite Radiation. For two years, I dealt with horrific side effects from “the anticancer drug” Tamoxifen – dry eyes, night sweats, bone pain, weight gain, migraines, insomnia, fevers… Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. Last November, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time and I opted for major surgery - a double mastectomy. I had my thyroid removed during that surgery too. In total, I had 3 separate courses of radiation, 1 course of chemo, 8 major surgeries, and 1 bone marrow biopsy. Whew…
I'm walking proof that super glue and duct tape works wonders.
But in case you want to know... I can still hit a golf ball 250 yards on a good day... bad day, maybe 235.
Marital Status: Married/partnered relationship
This is an excellent question. When I was initially diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in 1991, I was only 20 years old. I was very concerned about my dating life. When I finished my treatment and was ready to head back to college, I had an in-depth conversation with my radiation oncologist about this very subject. He gave me some incredible advice. He said: "Be as open and honest as you can about your cancer experience. You will find that this scares some people away. Your relationships with friends might change after a cancer diagnosis. Keep in mind, this reflects on them, not you. If people choose to walk away from a friendship or relationship with you because you are a cancer survivor, you don't want them in your life. As hard as that might be to accept, you need to recognize that there are many people out there that will accept you for who you are, don't forget that."
I've always remembered this conversation and great advice! I agree with Jackie and CancerHawk -- don't waste your time on people that are not accepting of you and your experiences!
p.s. I just got married last year! My husband's been by my side for my two battles with breast cancer.
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